China’s population grew at a slower rate last year despite the abolition of the one-child policy, official data showed Monday, raising fears an ageing society will pile further pressure on an already slowing economy.
There were 15.23 million live births in 2018, a drop of two million from the year before, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.
With 9.93 million deaths, this led to a growth rate of 3.81 per thousand in 2018, a dip from 5.32 per thousand the previous year.
NBS commissioner Ning Jize said population growth had peaked, but said the country still had huge potential.
“China’s labour participation rate is not considered low worldwide, more than 700 million of our 900 million people (of working age) are employed, and there is still room (for growth),” he said.
Signs of China’s falling population growth had emerged when data released by some local authorities indicated a significant drop in births last year.
In Qingdao, a city in eastern Shandong province – one of China’s most populous regions – births between January and November decreased by 21 percent to just over 81,000 compared to the previous year.